Southland is one of the largest operators in the SEF. It operates two vessels of its own and packs and transports fish for three others. The combined catch of these vessels represents about one third of the total SEF quota catch.
Southland has taken steps to improve its marketing procedures in terms of quality controls and management of its distribution procedures, and their returns for most species have improved as a result. However, they have been unable to influence the demand for silver warehou.
The silver warehou quota is a relatively large portion of the overall SEF allocation, and for operators in the fishery such as Southland (facing proportionally large and increasing costs per kilogram to manage, catch and market fish) the consistently poor return for such a large percentage of quota is of great concern.
Southland has limited financial resources for R&D, and before a more costly and lengthy research project is devised, some investigation into the anecdotal suggestions should occur which could provide a documented summary of (preliminary) findings to guide researchers. This would have the additional benefits of helping to set the parameters of further research; might provide some timely information of immediate assistance to fishers, marketers and consumers; and might even foreshadow the product development needs of this fishery and its potential price growth prospects.
Silver warehou (Seriolella punctata) is one of the most abundant species of the South East (Trawl) Fishery but in terms of culinary appeal, compares poorly to many other fish. Consequently it is not popular in food service markets, reducing its opportunity for price growth.
Anecdotal evidence, however, suggested that the eating quality of silver warehou might be affected by on-board handling, and that 'in-kitchen' preparation, storage and cooking methods might also significantly affect its culinary appeal.
This project was a preliminary investigation to test the anecdotal evidence and provide direction for further research in specific areas if warranted.